If you found your way here because you are shopping for a church website, look no further. While Passive Ninja can help you, we've decided to try some niche targeting of churches as LutherNet.org. Why? We saw a need for updated church sites. It's important that churches, schools, and child cares get their message out to the local communities they serve, but there are a lot of options for those groups to consider. Yes, Passive Ninja is a cool name, but when someone from a church is seeking out advice on how to build and maintain an economical, yet attractive church site, that person may wonder whether a ninja is the right provider.
One of your options when looking for a web designer will include asking members of the church to help out. We would encourage you to do this. Maybe someone is legitimately adept at WordPress and looking for a way to donate time and energy to your organization. Just beware that volunteers do not like to be rushed, and they don't like being criticized, either. If you go down the road of having a member take charge, you also will want that person to train others how to use the site. This is not always easy, especially if your designer works well with asp.net or Drupal. By all means, explore the local options, and then check out what LutherNet has to offer.
You might also decide you want to check out the local boutique web design firm. They are good. And you pay for it. Please call them up and ask for a quote. Hold all laughter until your next board meeting. Remember that they have a team of people making over $100,000 a year to support, so when that team gets to work on your site, everyone needs to get a cut. The less you know, the more you'll spend. If you can get one of these professional firms to feel generous, maybe they'll throw a simple site your way for under $10,000. At LutherNet, we'll build most sites for $1000 or less, and they can compete with the $10,000 and even $20,000 websites. One of the reasons we can do this is because we have one person who can build the site in less than a week. You'll need a vision, some color ideas, maybe some photos, and then a bit of content. We build live, which means we're not spending weeks coding and testing. The framework is built into the site, and we add a bit of creativity, some cool components, and we're done. Really.
You last option, and it really should be a last option, is to have your staff build it yourselves. As was stated, very talented people get paid a lot of money to design websites, and for good reason. If the online template, cookie-cutter, build-it-yourself, free-until-you-want-add-ons services were that good, then all kinds of large corporations would use those instead of the pros. These companies have a staff of mostly salespeople and technicians in India to pay, so they can do it cheaper than the local web designers, but they also know where they can make more money off you. They will often charge extra for small add-ons. They will hijack your social media pages if they claim that's a free service. They will upsell you on anything they can, since $5 or $10 is not enough to run such a company. They might hold your domain name hostage if you ever want to change to another host. Beyond that, your staff will have to learn the new system. Many of these systems are either locked-down content management systems or proprietary systems that don't get updated, sometimes even ones built for a different purpose altogether. Be prepared to pay extra for everything while paying more hours to employees who have to create new content.
Speaking of content, if you have any right now, make SURE it gets transferred to your new site. LutherNet will often build the site in a very similar layout to the original, which means pages that have earned Google ranking will pretty much stay the same. We'll check your meta tags and match them. We'll copy your old content (you own it, not your former web designer) and paste it into the new site. But the new site will look better, work better, and just be better. At LutherNet, we will work with you to design the site that is right for you, and then, just like Passive Ninja, we'll disappear. You can even take the files and put them on your own server if you don't want to pay the hosting fees.